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The Sisters Brothers [Paperback]

Patrick deWitt
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (328 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 3.86 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

5 Jan 2012
Hermann Kermit Warm is going to die. Across 1000 miles of Oregon desert his assassins, the notorious Eli and Charlies Sisters, ride - fighting, shooting, and drinking their way to Sacramento. But their prey isn't an easy mark, the road is long and bloody, and somewhere along the path Eli begins to question what he does for a living - and whom he does it for. The Sisters Brothers pays homage to the classic Western, transforming it into an unforgettable ribald tour de force. Filled with a remarkable cast of losers, cheaters, and ne'er-do-wells from all stripes of life-and told by a complex and compelling narrator, it is a violent, lustful odyssey through the underworld of the 1850s frontier that beautifully captures the humor, melancholy, and grit of the Old West and two brothers bound by blood, violence, and love.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 325 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books (5 Jan 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847083196
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847083197
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (328 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'The Sisters Brothers confirms deWitt as one of the most talented young writers around' --Sunday Times

'Superb ... deWitt has ensured another unforgettable pair their place in fictive lore' --Sunday Telegraph

'so good, so funny and so sad' --Irish Times

`A stylistically impressive, darkly comic reworking of the traditional western' --Metro

'A witty noir Don Quixote ... A blackly comic fable about emptiness, lonliness and the hollow lure of gold'
--Financial Times

'gripping and heart-wrenching' --Guardian

`Wonderfully funny and original' --Spectator

'The Sisters Brothers is intermittently moving, consistently very funny, and above all, original' --New Statesman

'A powerfully realized work ... the dialogue is sharp as a whip' --Times Literary Supplement

'A masterclass on the twists of the mind and heart'
--Scotsman

'A stunningly accomplished book ... deWitt is on his way to greatness' --Dazed & Confused

`Bursting with vitality and driven along by a terrific pulpy energy' --Herald

'A lyrical homage to the classic western ... this has the makings of a cult outrider' --Time Out

'deWitt's book is inventive and has a smart line in dark humour' --Observer

`Extremely well written and very funny' --Big Issue

About the Author

Patrick deWitt's first novel Ablutions was a huge critical success. Born in British Columbia, he has also lived in California, Washington, and Oregon, where he currently resides with his wife and son.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
78 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fabulous Read 7 Aug 2011
By Lovely Treez TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
I first heard about The Sisters Brothers when it recently made it onto the Man Booker Longlist - perversely enough, it was all the mutterings about it not being a suitable nominee plus some irresistible cover lust which made me even keener to read it.

Firstly, a word of warning...this is not a pretty novel, it's set back in the 1850s during the California Gold Rush when men were men and horses didn't have whisperers. There are scenes of cruelty, to both animals and humans, so best to move on if this would detract from your reading enjoyment.

It is 1851, the Californian Gold Rush is in full swing and our narrator, Eli Sisters, hired killer, is accompanying his older brother Charlie on an eventful journey from Oregon to Sacramento, to track down and kill one Hermann Kermit Warm. Their quest has an epic feel to it as they encounter a range of wild and wonderful characters en route, think Don Quixote meets the Coen and Blues Brothers with a dash of Cormac Mc Carthy thrown in for good measure. Yet, it doesn't seem derivative and ends up being a really fresh, original piece of work - defying categorisation.

Eli is a psychopath with a (slight) conscience and therein lies the conflict between the brothers. Even as he relates their latest killing in his usual deadpan tone, you know his heart is no longer in it and he longs for a different life, even suggesting opening a store - Charlie is not particularly open to the idea... Their story is compelling but unsettling, dark but humorous and so cinematic, you can just visualise their adventures rolling onto the big screen.

A very special novel which will entertain a wide range of readers including those biblio-butterflies who like a change of genre every now and then.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Fistful of Nothing? 24 Feb 2012
By Quicksilver TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
It can be hard reading (and then reviewing) a highly acclaimed book, particularly if you find your own opinion of it contrary to everybody else's. I had wanted to read 'The Sisters Brothers' since before it was longlisted for the Booker prize; its subsequent acclaim had me anticipating something special. Whilst in no way a bad book, I found 'TSB' to be a pedestrian tale. A tale well told, but one that failed to deliver on its promise.

The novel is narrated by Eli Sisters, one half of the notorious Sisters Brothers, murderous enforcers for an unseen crime baron called 'The Commodore'. Eli and Charlie are travelling to California, to track down Herman Warm. Warm has irritated their employer, and Eli and Charlie have been dispatched to ensure he doesn't do it again.

The period and setting are well constructed. deWitt conveys the openness of the wild west well, but what really stands out is the sense of lawlessness. Unlike most depictions of the Gold Rush era deWitt's contains no glamour; it is survival of the fittest. The strongest takes what it wants from the weak, and the weak die. The motto of almost everybody in the book is 'Get rich or die tryin'.

The novel's characters, particularly Eli, are well drawn. Charlie is a ruthless killer, Eli is on the surface a brute; violent and quick to anger, but he has another side. Eli is a dangerous man, but he is also a thinker, and he does not like what he has become. The novel explores his inner turmoil as he tries to transcend his circumstances and lead a better life. Although the style, settings and characters are entirely different, I found 'TSB' curiously reminiscent of 'Great Expectations'.

The story essentially follows Eli's pitiful attempts to change.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent, readable book 18 May 2012
By John Tierney VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a wonderful book, even straight from the title (Eli and Charlie have the surname "Sisters" and are brothers). Eli is our narrator and he has an unusual, quirky voice. Set in 1851 Gold Rush West Coast America, the brothers are guns for hire and on a mission to travel from Oregon to San Francisco to assasinate someone who has offended their employer, the all-powerful Commodore, who - it seems- doesn't like Eli anyway.

We follow the brothers as they travel and meet people along the way and in towns. Charlie is fearless and brutal, whilst Eli seems more thoughtful and wants to change his life. His voice is clear and funny and the book is a real page turner. The brothers have multiple encounters along the way, some violent, until they reach San Francisco and must then track down the mysterious Hermann Kermit Warm. What they do to try and find him and the consequence of this lead to the denouement of the book, which I won't spoil.

This book is extremely well written, funny, intelligent, thought-provoking, philsophical and also what seemed to me to be a faithful recreation of the gold rush atmosphere. I felt as though the dialogue was authentic and there are nice turns of phrase. I could picture scene after scene and I think this reflects well on the author's skills.

If you are not sure about whether to buy this book, I urge you to do so as I don't think you'll be disappointed.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not laugh out loud, but... 8 Mar 2012
By Steed
Format:Kindle Edition
I was sold on this book being a dark comedy and although it is a wonderfully entertaining read (no doubt about that), the comedy aspect did not have me laughing out loud like the fabulous dark comedies of Tom Sharpe's Wilt or Tony Royden's The Dealer. So if it's belly laughs you are after, maybe best you look elsewhere.

The Sisters Brothers is written in such a way that every chapter is a tale within itself and so I found the book was easily put-downable (suitable to my lifestyle), but each chapter was enjoyable and was all relevant to the overall story. I really liked the that it was set in the in the background of the wild west (something new to the books I have been reading). Charlie and Eli Sisters are likeable rogues and I enjoyed narrative between them. I agree with other reviewers that The Sisters Brothers does have a Coen Brothers film feel to it.

If you like the occasional western with a deadpan since of humour, then this book is well worth considering.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
crapola
Published 8 days ago by nik
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
Loved it
Published 10 days ago by RK
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fantastic and funny read
Published 10 days ago by Mark Segal
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and well written
Written in a quirky, picaresque style, this was an engaging and enjoyable read. Although not quite as good as I was led to believe, I had to give this 4 stars for the its... Read more
Published 1 month ago by J Biswan
4.0 out of 5 stars BETTER THAN I THOUGHT
A WELL SCRIPTED PIECE OF WORK. IT CAPTIVATE AND INTRIGUES. IT KEPT MY INTEREST. VERY DIFFERENT TO ANYTHING I WOULD USUALLY CHOOSE SO ONE NEEDS AN OPEN MIND TO READ THIS BOOK.
Published 1 month ago by Janet
1.0 out of 5 stars Slow, dull and uninspiring.
What a dreary boom. Like a spaghetti Western. I would have given up on it had it not been for the fact it was for our reading group review. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Marianne I
2.0 out of 5 stars well written but not my cup of tea
Read this book for book club. It was well written and storyline was paced well but subject matter and setting was not to my taste. Bit on the gruesome side in places.
Published 1 month ago by MrsMsmallc
4.0 out of 5 stars Absurdist but compelling read
Much enjoyed Patrick deWitt’s debut “Ablutions” for its being written in the accusative and in second person, a feat rarely done. Read more
Published 2 months ago by P. A. Doornbos
5.0 out of 5 stars book award
I bought this twice as a gift and both readers enjoyed it. It had won a readers award. Highly Recommended
Published 2 months ago by E Lawson
5.0 out of 5 stars A Personal Favourite
This has come up as our next book group read which I am more than glad about as this is one of my personal favourites. Read more
Published 2 months ago by M. Dowden
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